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Horton Plains - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Wintibird
A wet and foggy day

Sri Lanka


Horton Plains National Park is a high plateau in south-central Sri Lanka. It's covered by montane grassland and cloud forest and holds some endemic species which are hard to find elsewhere on the island.


Photo by Wintibird
Cloud forest

Notable Species

Horton Plains is probably the best place to see the endemic Dull-blue Flycatcher. Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush is also sometimes found. The beautiful Yellow-eared Bulbul and the endemic Sri Lanka White-eye are also easily found.


Birds you can see here include:

Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Himalayan Buzzard, Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, Greater Coucal, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Crimson-backed Goldenback, Indian Pitta, Orange Minivet, Indian Jungle Crow, Cinereous Tit, Barn Swallow, Yellow-eared Bulbul, Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush, Green Warbler, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler, Sri Lanka White-eye, Pied Bushchat, Dull-blue Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Pale-billed Flowerpecker, House Sparrow, Grey Wagtail, Paddyfield Pipit

Other Wildlife

Sambar is common and easily seen. Black-naped Hare crosses the street sometimes and the endemic Purple-faced Langur can be seen as well. Leopard is also occuring but hardly ever seen.

Site Information

History and Use

After beeing a popular spot for British hunters during the times of the empire, this high plateau has been declared a national park in 1988. It's a popular tourist spot and it can offer breathtaking views down to the lowlands if there is no fog or rain.

Areas of Interest

Coming from the northern gate proceed immediately down to the first small pool on the right (5 minutes with the car). Get out there and look out for Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush which can sometimes be seen in early morning. The forest between the gate and the first open grassland is good for Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler, Dull-blue Flycatcher andSri Lanka Woodpigeon. Drive on later and pass Maha Eliya (some bungalows of the forest departement) and stop at the first crossroad. A small road goes left down into a valley. It's worth to walk this path for some kilometers. The path to the famous World's End is usually to crowed for good birding. Look out for Sri Lanka Bush Warbler in scrub near small streams.

Access and Facilities

There are two entry points to Horton Plains, Pattipola gate in the north, reachable from Nuwara Eliya (32km) and Ohiya gate in the east, reachable from Ohiya (8km). Both open at 6am. You will be charged 3000Rs per person to enter the park.
A half or a full day is usually enough to cover the spot.
There are no restaurants or foodstalls in the park, so bring your own food and water. Ohiya and Pattipola have some small restaurants with traditional food.
Most people stay in Nuwara Eliya from where you need a good hour to reach the park by car. Ohiya is closer and has some accomodation. There is no public transport to the park. Closest train station is Pattipola where tuk-tuks can be found.
The weather is often unpredictable up here. Be prepared for rain, fog and cool temperatures.

External Links